3M Bair Hugger manufactures and sells a forced air warming blankets that are used during implant surgeries nationwide. The blanket helps patients who are under anesthesia regulate their body temperature while it prevents hypothermia. Using a surgical hose, the system forces hot air into the disposable blanket draped over the patient’s larger body areas during surgery. The warming blanket has been used by many surgeons during millions of surgical procedures each year as a way to reduce the chance of hypothermia, when the patient loses body heat at a rate faster than it can be produced.
While designed to reduce the potential risks of developing an infection, the device might actually cause an infection by blowing highly contaminated bacteria-laden air from the tainted floor area into the patient’s opened surgical site. The potential risk of developing an infection is especially severe for individuals undergoing artificial heart valve implant surgery or joint replacement surgeries including knee and hip replacements.
The Inventor Speaks Out
The potential risks of developing infections are so severe that even the inventor of the device is warning health care providers and surgeons of the potential serious problems the device could cause during orthopedic and heart surgery. The inventor of the Bair Hugger warming blanket, Dr. Scott Augustine first introduced the device in 1988 through his privately owned company. However, the doctor now claims the device creates significantly higher risk than once believed. It has been alleged that patients with the device may be exposed to dangerous contaminants transferred from the hospital floor into their opened surgical site.
The warming blankets were first marketed through the Augustine Medical Company before its name was changed to Arizant. In 2002, the doctor resigned his Arizant positions as chief executive and chairman of the board. By 2010, Arizant was purchased by 3M.
In response to claims made by Dr. Augustine, 3M stated that they believe “Mr. Augustine’s allegations against forced air warming stand from a personal vendetta and are baseless.” However, there are at least 14 lawsuits filed in U.S. federal courts alleging serious complications involving infections by patients who would undergone surgery using the Bair Hugger warming blanket system.
Bair Hugger Litigation
Most lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota have made claims that patients develop serious infections after implant replacement surgeries. Many of the lawsuits claim that the device interfered with operating air flow and caused contaminants and bacteria to spread into the patient’s surgical site. Some of the patients had to undergo an additional surgery involving removal and replacement of the affected implant.
Lawsuits filed against Arizant and 3M claim that the device manufacturers were negligent during the design, manufacturing and promotion processes of all Bair Hugger devices. Many of the plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit to seek financial compensation to cover past, current and future damages that involve hospitalization, medical expenses, lost earnings and loss of earning capacity along with pain, suffering, grief and mental anxiety.
Even though there have been repeated warnings and escalating scrutiny involved in Bair Hugger warming blankets, many hospitals and surgeons still use the devices for orthopedic surgeries nationwide. In all likelihood, there will be many more Bair Hugger infection lawsuits and claims filed against the manufacturer and distributors of the product.
Filing a Lawsuit for Compensation
The medical device recall attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are currently evaluating potential claims for compensation from patients who have suffered life-threatening infections after implant surgery. Our team of lawyers are working on behalf of our clients injured by Bair Hugger forced air warming blankets during their hip or knee replacement surgery or heart valve replacement surgery that cause complications involving:
- Sepsis (septic knee or hip infection)
- Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
- Deep joint infections that require additional surgery or antibiotic spacers
- Wrongful death
A reputable, experienced Chicago Medical Device Defect Attorney from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers encourages you to call our law offices today at (888) 424-5757 for a case review to determine your eligibility for an individual injury claim or involvement in a Bair Hugger class-action suit. You might be entitled to receive financial compensation to cover your losses, damages and injuries. We accept these types of cases on contingency so no upfront fee is required.